ADD Medication and Treatment Reviews


Vyvanse is a stimulant medication used to treat ADHD in children, adolescents, and adults
Generic Name: Lisdexamfetamine dimesylate

Medically reviewed by ADDitude’s ADHD Medical Review Panel

What is Vyvanse?

Vyvanse (Generic Name: lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) is a once-daily, timed-release, stimulant ADHD medication primarily used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD) in children ages 6-12, adolescents, and adults. According to the FDA, Vyvanse is a federally controlled substance (CII) because it can be abused or lead to dependence. It is an amphetamine.

Vyvanse may improve focus for people with inattentive ADHD, and decrease impulsivity and hyperactive behavior — hallmark ADHD symptoms for many patients. It is not known if it is safe for children under the age of 6.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends ADHD treatment with behavioral therapy before medication for children under the age of 6. For children ages 6 to 11, the AAP says “The primary care clinician should prescribe US Food and Drug Administration–approved medications for ADHD and/or evidence-based parent- and/or teacher-administered behavior therapy as treatment for ADHD, preferably both.” Likewise, the National Institute of Mental Health finds the most successful treatment plans use a combination of ADHD medication, like Adderall XR, and behavioral therapy.

Vyvanse can also be used to treat binge eating disorder in adults.

How Do You Use Vyvanse to Treat ADHD?

Before starting or refilling a Vyvanse prescription, read the medication guide included with your pills, as it may be updated with new information.

This guide should not replace a conversation with your doctor, who has a holistic view of your or your child’s medical history, other diagnoses, and other prescriptions. If you have questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist before you begin taking the medication.

What is the Typical Dosage for Vyvanse?

As with all medications, follow your Vyvanse prescription instructions exactly. Vyvanse is taken orally, with or without food, once daily. The first dose is typically taken first thing in the morning; it should be taken at the same time each day for the best results.

Vyvanse is available in capsules or chewable tablets. Capsules should be swallowed whole with water or other liquids. If your child is unable to swallow the capsule, it can be opened and stirred into yogurt, water, or orange juice. Taken this way, the mixture should be swallowed entirely at once. Chewable tablets should be completely chewed before swallowing, then followed with a glass of water or other liquid.

Capsules are available in 5mg, 10mg, 20mg, 30mg, 40mg, 50mg, 60mg and 70mg dosages. Chewable tablets are available in 5mg, 10mg, 20mg, 30mg, 40mg, 50mg, and 60mg dosages.The time-release formulation is designed to maintain a steady level of medicine in the body throughout the day.

The optimal dosage varies patient by patient. Your doctor may adjust your dosage weekly by 10mg or 20mg increments until you or your child experiences the best response — that is, the lowest dosage at which you experience the greatest improvement in symptoms without side effects.  The maximum dose is typically 70mg daily.

During treatment, your doctor may periodically ask you to stop taking your Vyvanse so that he or she can monitor ADHD symptoms; check vital statistics including blood, heart, and blood pressure; or evaluate height and weight. If any problems are found, your doctor may recommend discontinuing treatment.

Some patients report developing a tolerance to Vyvanse after long-term use. If you notice that your dosage is no longer controlling your symptoms, talk to your doctor to plan a course of action.

What Side Effects Are Associated with Vyvanse?

The most common side effects of Vyvanse are as follows:

When treating ADHD: anxiety, decreased appetite, diarrhea, dizziness, dry mouth, irritability, loss of appetite, nausea, trouble sleeping, upper stomach pain, vomiting, and weight loss.

When treating Binge Eating Disorder: dry mouth, trouble sleeping, decreased appetite, increased heart rate, constipation, feeling jittery, anxiety.

Another serious side effect is slowed growth in children.

Taking Vyvanse may impair your or your teenager’s ability to drive, operate machinery, or perform other potentially dangerous tasks. This side effect usually wears off with time. If side effects are bothersome, or do not go away, talk to your doctor. Most people taking this medication do not experience any of these side effects.

Report to your doctor any heart-related problems or a family history of heart and blood pressure problems. Patients with structural cardiac abnormalities and other serious heart problems have experienced sudden death, stroke, heart attack, and increased blood pressure while taking Vyvanse. Stimulants can increase blood pressure and heart rate. Physicians should monitor these vital signs closely during treatment. Call your doctor immediately if you or your child experiences warning signs such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting while taking Vyvanse.

Disclose to your physician all mental health issues including any family history of suicide, bipolar illness, or depression. The FDA manufacturer recommends evaluating patients for bipolar disorder prior to stimulant administration. Vyvanse may create new or exacerbate existing behavior problems, or bipolar illness. It can cause psychotic or manic symptoms in children and teenagers. Call your doctor immediately if you or your child experiences new or worsening mental health symptoms including hallucinations or sudden suspicions.

Discuss circulation problems with your doctor before taking Vyvanse, which has been known to cause numbness, coolness, or pain in fingers or toes, including Raynaud’s phenomenon. Report to your doctor any new blood-flow problems, pain, skin color changes, or sensitivities to temperature while taking Vyvanse.

Stimulants like Vyvanse have a high potential for abuse and addiction, especially among people who do not have ADHD. It is a “Schedule II Stimulant,” a designation that the Drug Enforcement Agency uses for drugs with a high potential for abuse. Other Schedule II drugs include Dexedrine, Ritalin, and cocaine. People with a history of drug abuse should use caution when trying this medication. Taking the medication exactly as prescribed can reduce potential for abuse.

The above is not a complete list of potential side effects. If you notice any health changes not listed above, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

What Precautions Are Associated with Vyvanse?

Store Vyvanse in a secure place out of the reach of children, and at room temperature. Do not share your Vyvanse prescription with anyone, even another person with ADHD. Sharing prescription medication is illegal, and can cause harm.

You should not take Vyvanse if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in Vyavanse, or if you have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) within 14 days.

If you’re thinking of becoming pregnant, discuss the use of Vyvanse with your doctor. It is not known if it can cause fetal harm. Vyvanse is passed through breastmilk, so it is recommended that mothers do not nurse while taking it.

The safety of Vyvanse for children under age six has not been established.

What Interactions Are Associated with Vyvanse?

Before taking Vyvanse, discuss all other active prescription medications with your doctor. Vyvanse can have a dangerous, possibly fatal, interaction with antidepressants including MAOIs.

Vyvanse is similar to amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. You should avoid taking these medications concurrently with Vyvanse.

Share a list of all vitamin or herbal supplements, and prescription and non-prescription medications you take with the pharmacist when you fill your prescription, and let all doctors and physicians know you are taking Vyvanse before having any surgery or laboratory tests. Vyvanse can cause false steroid results.

The above is not a complete list of all possible drug interactions.


More Information on Vyvanse and Other ADHD Medications:

Free Download: The Complete Guide to ADHD Medications
5 Rules for Treating Children with Stimulant Medications
Primer: The Stimulant Medications Used to Treat ADHD

46 Vyvanse Related Links

  1. I have been medicated for ADHD for 26 years now (& no negative health effects either!). I have spent most of that on Dexamphetamine which is by far the most effective for me. I have been put through the paces with others and they were ineffective (especially Ritalin).

    I found I had side effects on the dexamphetamine if I had a dose higher than 25m per day, chewing my tongue, overly task oriented at the beginning and sleepy at lunch and driving home, and emotion on the comedown. I also suffered badly with insomnia when the medication wore off (and sometime took my medication closer to bed time, which helped significantly to reduce racing thoughts… seems counterintuitive but makes sense if you get adhd).

    I change to Vyvanse about a year ago and it is life changing. I was able to up my dose as the come on and come off side effects were significantly reduced and now my life is better than ever. It removed the emotional flooding issues I had a work (especially around lunch times), And my sleep is vastly improved, as I don’t get the horrible anxiety I used to get when the old medication wore off (though I’m not sure it’s just anxiety if the stuff you worry about actually happens – forgetting, emotional out burst, falling asleep at the wheel….).

    My partner was doing night shift for a month recently which meant I had to be on point with work, family and driving from 5am to 8pm which was longer than the daily dose lasted, so I had to take a top up at 4pm of a short acting amphetamine to last out the day… this worked well.

    I found that the appropriate dose of Vyvanse has removed any need for anxiety or other medications to address those other symptoms (which were in hindsight probably under treated ADHD).

    Notes: appetite – I have a theory that the appetite issue is related to attention… when I’m medicated I am able to pus the I want food/pain/feel sick/etc thoughts from my mind much more easily to focus on other activities. When I made the activity of eating a priority in optimal nutrition and health at set times in the day, my appetite issues were fairly much resolved. And within a few days I had no problems with eating a suitable amount at suitable times.
    Sleep – ADHD causes nearly all my sleep issues, vyvanse can wear off a bit early and then I don’t get enough of the effects before bed to get to sleep… a pysch can look at this to get a “filler” on this. Or I also find Melatonin can help set a healthy sleep routine/rhythm.
    Breaks – I Find taking medication breaks a joke! ADHD does not go away on the weekends or holidays and to treat it like that in my opinion diminishes the condition’s seriousness and ignores to enormous effect it has on self management and interpersonal relationships. Vyvanse is NOT good if taking breaks – the 2nd day after not taking it I always get a nasty headache and feel very lethargic. Plus the effects are so much more effective and positive if it is taken with consistency. You can get a really good understanding of how you best work on your medication. I would definitely recommend at least 6mths of consistent treatment before working with breaks (if you need them to fuel a creative endeavour or want to “cleanse” etc.). That way you have a clear understanding of being on & off benefits, and Are in a much better and educated position to make calls about when you want and don’t want to take it, and how to manage yourself and both circumstances.

    Can’t recommend this enough as a suitable medication – both I

  2. I had my daughter try Vyvanse when she was 10, after two weeks I threw the rest of the prescription out! She was an emotional wreck! Depressed and crying at school over everything. It made her an outcast she was such a mess! We switched to Adderall, not the best and we ended up switching off of that too, best thing for her was Concerta…..that was a total game changer! I realize that everyone is different, but Vyvanse was a nightmare! No medication was better than that! It was hard to even last the two week trial!

  3. Where do I even begin?
    So I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 9, I am now 18, and in my last year of high school and off to college next year. I’ve been on Vyvanse for a year and a half, and up until recently I had only good things to say, it kept me motivated and happy and worked AMAZING. I went from barely passing classes to now a high 80’s average student. And I owed it all to this drug. In December the day before Christmas break, I started to feel weird and out of the body so I went to the bathroom and looked at myself through the mirror and was horrified to see what I looked like, a student in the bathroom went to get me help and I had a seizure and shortly after passed out. The ambulance came and when I was hooked up to the heart monitor I was horrified to realize my heart rate was at 172 bpm. Please note that I have been on MANY ADHD medications throughout my life Vyvanse is the only one that has stuck. After this incident I have noticed I have all but a few side effects of Vyvanse. I have developed severe anxiety and I have little to no meat on my bones. I am a very loud and out-going person and it’s safe to say when I am on this drug has ruined my confidence. I haven’t been to school in a month because the anxiety is so bad and I feel like I am about to pass out when I am at school and my grades are suffering horribly. Today I have come to the conclusion and I will stop taking it (I have spoken to a doctor) and I’ll find another alternative because although the medication makes me the focus I can’t focus when I am worried about my body and If I am about to pass out.

    However, This is just me and I am different from everyone, I came up with a plan and a schedule, I wake up at 6 A.M and take my meds so that they have their 10-12 hours to wear off so I can sleep, PLEASE NOTE: it is vital that you take this medication early if you want a someone decent sleep at night. I am not gonna lie, the first 1 hour when it kicks in is the best time of my life I am so happy and so ready to start my day. But then it begins to wear off and I just get anxious and quiet. This medication was amazing for me but not anymore which is okay, if anyone has any questions please let me know I’ll be happy to help. (I am not a doctor nor am I saying I know better than, this is just my personal experience.

  4. Im 29. Have had ADHD since 8. Been on cylert, ritalin, adderall, maxed out on straterra, concerta. During early 20s after transitioning from peds to prime care. My treatment has been a yo-yo. I was on wellbutrin for while higher doses made me tremors, and stupor for words, referred to pysch who put me back on concerta then switched me to lamictal. My new pysch doc put me on vyvnase felt normal again world diff at starting dose, more focus, calmer productive, mood boosted. On 30 mg felt okay started noticing difficulty sleeping on 40 mg i have provlems sleeping, dry mouth worse. I feel like im physically tired, brian tired, but mind won’t let me sleep. If i could overcome that piece i love it otherwise! Suggestions???

  5. I am 35 years old and have recently been diagnosed with ADHD – Inattentive type.

    I was initially started on 30mg Vyvanse, and whilst I did not feel a difference, my husband noticed that my time management was much improved and I was consistently on time when going out (whereas previously, this would be a constant battle as I was ALWAYS late!). I didn’t notice an improvement in my attention and focus at work so I went back to the Dr.

    My Dr increased the dose to 50mg and it has been life changing! I am so productive at work and am able to complete the tasks I hate in a timely manner and can organise and plan so much better! I am able to do all the admin and mundane tasks that I previously avoided and put off and have managed to stay on top of things. This has increased my confidence and I am a MUCH happier mom and wife! My husband has also noticed an improvement in my ability to control my emotions, with fewer outbursts and I now feel much calmer and in control.

    I previously lost so much money purely due to procrastination (being late to claim funding for childcare and then being late at returning unwanted items etc, I can go on and on…) I don’t procrastinate anymore and can just “get on with it”.

    Side affects: Dry mouth – but this forces me to drink more water which I was previously notoriously bad at doing so actually a plus for me. Loss of appetite – however, I eat brekfast before taking it and force myself to eat lunch, but by dinner my appetite is back and I eat well, so this can be managed if you are diligent.

    Initially struggled to have “deep” sleep but this wore off after a week of being on it.

    Initially had headaches however this also wore off after a week or so.

    Everyone is different so it is important to find the right meds AND right dose that work for you.

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